‘This is not happening’: The Multi-layered Ontology of The X-Files

  • Klaudia Seibel


The X-Files has been one of the most popular American TV series, ‘a cult programme of the nineties’ (Curti 1998: 79) which also gained international popularity. It ran over nine seasons (from 10 September 1993 to 19 May 2002) and spawned one feature film (so far), a spin-off (The Lone Gunmen), several novelizations, a comic book series, a computer game, and a variety of tie-in merchandise. It focuses on two FBI agents1 and their hunt for ‘The Truth’. It follows in the tradition of the weekly cop series, with each episode representing (more or less) one case file.2 The agents investigating the X-files also try to expose an international conspiracy whose members attempt to hide ‘The Truth’ from the public and to destroy any evidence the investigators might have gathered. This ‘mythology’ forms an overarching storyline originating in the investigation into the abduction of Fox Mulder’s sister Samantha in 1973, 19 years before the beginning of the series’ action in 1992. The ramifications of this ‘mytharc’ not only shape those episodes explicitly dealing with it, but also reach into many stand-alone ‘monster-of-the-week’ episodes, giving The X-Files its ‘elliptical yet serial narrative structure’ (McLean 1998: 6).3


Visual Track Ontological Level Private Domain Story World Detective Story 
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© Klaudia Seibel 2005

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  • Klaudia Seibel

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